Based on the current advice/information by NHS Choices.

Maternity complementary therapy acupunctureWhat is acupuncture?

Acupuncture is a treatment derived from ancient Chinese medicine. Fine needles are inserted specific places on the body for therapeutic or preventative purposes. The needles may be inserted just under the skin or deeper into the muscle tissue and may be left in place from a few minutes or up to around 30 minutes.


Is acupuncture safe in pregnancy?

When carried out by a qualified practitioner, it is generally safe to have acupuncture when you’re pregnant. However, let your acupuncture practitioner know if you’re pregnant because certain acupuncture points can’t be used safely during pregnancy.

If you have a bleeding disorder, such as haemophilia, or are taking anticoagulants, talk to your GP before you have acupuncture.

Acupuncture is also not usually advised if you have a metal allergy or an infection in the area where needles may be inserted.


 How acupuncture can help

There is strong evidence to suggest that acupuncture is beneficial for back and pelvic pain, and it can also help with:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Heartburn and indigestion
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Headaches and migraine
  • Preparation for labour
  • Encouraging the baby into an optimal position (head down) for birth
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Labour as a form of pain relief


Advice following an acupuncture treatment

Some people experience mild, short-lived side effects such as:

  • Pain where the needles puncture the skin
  • Bleeding or bruising where the needles puncture the skin
  • Drowsiness
  • Feeling sick
  • Feeling dizzy or faint
  • Worsening of pre-existing symptoms.

Acupuncture should only be used in pregnancy under guidance of a practitioner who is qualified in the use of acupuncture in maternity care.

If you have any concerns following a treatment it is important to seek advice from your acupuncturist.